BROMFIELD - OSMOTHERLAWE'S SCHOOL
MR. C. I. ELTON’S REPORT
This school was founded for the benefit of the township of Langrigg exclusively, but on being further endowed by Mr Thomlinson, was thrown open to the whole parish of Bromfield. The schoolhouse contains one large room partitioned across one corner to separate the girls from the boys during lessons for sewing and knitting. There are on average about 70 scholars, of whom 30 are girls. Most of the children are very young when they come to the school, and (with the exception of a few farmer’s sons) are removed before they have learned more than the mere rudiments of education. None have learned the Latin grammar during the last few years, nor is any future demand for such instruction expected To arise. Some of the boys were well advanced in arithmetic, as is usual in the village schools of this county. One worked out with fair correctness some problems in mensuration for me, and others showed a very tolerable accuracy in the management of fractions. The rest of the children did sums in long division, reduction and compound multiplication according to their classes, and seemed to have been well taught. No quarter-pence or other payments are taken from the children; there is, however, no doubt it would be a good thing for the school if some slight weekly payment were in future imposed. There would then be money for providing books and maps as from time to time required. The supply given a few years ago by a gentleman in the neighbourhood is becoming exhausted, and some difficulty is expected to be felt in raising more. The master’s cottage adjoining the schoolroom is a small but comfortable residence. He pays 5s. yearly rent for its use; this sum is applied in alms to the poor of the parish, certain moneys having formerly been advanced for repairing the cottage from the parish funds. The vicar and churchwardens for the time being are the trustees ex officio. The vicar does not reside in the place, but visits the school occasionally. No examinations of the children are held; it would doubtless an advantage if the charity were annually visited and reported upon by examiners unconnected with the parish. The funds of the endowment appear to be well managed by the trustees, the present income from stock, land and railway shares being over £46 yearly.1 Two pieces of land in Blencogo are of the tenure of customary freehold or “tenant right,” and are held by ancient rent and fines on death or alienation. This is a very inconvenient tenure for lands belonging to a charity, inasmuch as every death of a lord or tenant causes a sudden fall in the income, against which it is hard to provide. This evil is felt very generally throughout Cumberland, where scarcely a parish is without customary lands of this kind. A rule compelling the trustees of these charities to take advantage of the Copyhold and Customary-hold Enfranchisement Act would be beneficial to the schools; but the case or difficulty of such a course depends in each instance on the amount of the fines; in some cases indeed the expense of enfranchising land held by payment of small quit-rents and large fines is so great that the trustees are compelled to forego the advantage which they wish to obtain for the school. An enfranchisement would generally have the effect of diminishing the income of the schoolmaster for the time being; a rentcharge on the estate being substituted for the fine to be paid on his death or dismissal. The charge should therefore be made, if possible, whenever there is a vacancy in the office of schoolmaster.
DIGEST OF INFORMATION
(Ch. Com. Rep. V. 67. A.D.1821.)
Foundation and Endowment. – By will of Richard Osmotherlawe, dated 7th May 1612. An annuity of £10 from the lands demised by Richard Osmotherlawe. Lands in Blencogo and Bromfield purchased with school stock, 7 acres in all. A small piece of waste in Aspatria. A sum of £300 invested in Silloth Railway. Another sum of £24.
School Property. - Total income from all sources, £46. Good buildings. Residence for master.
Objects of Trust. To find and provide a sufficient schoolmaster to teach 15 poor men’s children inhabiting Langrigg and Bromfield, two to be nominated by inhabitants of Langrigg Hall, seven by inhabitants of town of Langrigg, and six out of Bromfield. Schoolmaster to be appointed by mutual consent of inhabitants of both towns.
Subjects of Instruction prescribed. - Reading, writing, arithmetic. Classics formerly, if required.
Government and Master. - The vicar and churchwardens are trustees ex officio. Scheme given by Charity commissioners in 1863.
State of School in Second Half-year of 1864.
General Character. - Mixed elementary village school.
Master. - No boarders. Total income of master, £46. Nothing from fees or other sources.
Day Scholars. - Between 80 and 90 boys and girls, children of farmers and agricultural labourers, half under 10 years of age and one-tenth above 16. No fees for instruction. Scholars come from distances between one and three miles.
Boarders. - None.
Instruction, Discipline, etc. - No knowledge required on admission.
School classified separately for every group of subjects. Religious instruction open to all. School opened and closed with prayers from Liturgy. Lessons
on Sundays under superintendence of resident minister.
Playground, 50 by 25 yards, adjoining.
School time, 46 weeks per annum, 28 ½ hours per week.
Play time, 10 hours per week.
LIST OF TRUSTEES.
Vicar (Rev. C.H. Wybergh) and churchwardens, ex officio.
Paul Haslam transcribed the original document, converted to HTML by Steve Bulman.
Paul has an interest in education in the county, and further historical documents may follow in due course.
1. In the original text money is shown as e.g. 4l, i.e. 4 librum, or £4. To avoid confusion, I've regularised all of these as £.
19 June 2015
© Steve Bulman